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Taking the Sting out of Rheumatoid Arthritis - Try Stinging Nettle

Kimberly England's picture
Stinging Nettle and Rheumatoid Arthritis

So many people suffer with pain and some sort of arthritis today. It’s become the new norm and the same ole same ole isn’t cutting it anymore. The truth stings!


Sadly, it isn’t just the elderly in pain anymore. Many young ones suffer from some type of arthritis also. Whether it’s RA, Osteoarthritis, or even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), someone young or older is suffering.

According to The American College of Rheumatology, about 1 child in every 1,000 develops some type of chronic arthritis. These disorders can affect children at any age, although rarely in the first six months of life. It is estimated that around 300,000 children in the United States have been diagnosed with the condition.

Growing up with arthritis can be challenging. However, with care from a team of rheumatology professionals, most children with arthritis live full and active lives and able to do everything their peers do. There are various types of chronic childhood arthritis, which can last from several months to many years. In every instance, early diagnosis and treatment can help avoid joint damage.

For purposes of perspective
Nearly 1.5 million people in the United States having rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It’s no wonder that the odds of treatment become consistently more challenging in time.

So much of antibiotics and pain medication for RA becomes a constant state of abuse to the physical body and begins to take a turn. A person is left with which direction to move towards for treatment-- (conventional or medicinal medicine).

Studies show that women carry nearly three times the disease than men. In women, RA usually begins between ages 30 and 60. In men, it often occurs later in life. Having a family member with RA increases the odds of having RA; however, most people with RA have no family history of the disease at all.

In a randomized controlled trial (RCT) from 2009, researchers gave 81 people with OA either a supplement that contained fish oil, vitamin E, and stinging nettle or a placebo. The conclusion was the test appeared to decrease the need for analgesics and NSAIDs and improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Let’s look at RA from an out dated and fresh perspective.

Causes of RA
Genetics or genes (60%), have also been associated with the onset and progression of RA.

Environmental influence is applicable from the use of long-term smoking, lifestyle factors, such as diet, medications, and pollutants may increase one’s risk of onset or development of RA.

Immune System is another form where the body overproduces TNF-alpha and other proteins that promote inflammation including joint pain, swelling and stiffness.

What is RA
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects its health by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints. This creates inflammation that causes the tissue that lines the inside of joints (the synovium) to thicken, resulting in swelling and pain in and around the joints. The synovium makes a fluid that lubricates joints and helps them move smoothly.

Inflammation that goes unchecked, can damage cartilage, the elastic tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint, as well as the bones themselves. Over time, there is loss of cartilage, and the joint spacing between bones can become smaller. Joints can become loose, unstable, painful and lose their mobility. Joint deformity also can occur. Joint damage cannot be reversed.

Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the joints of the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. The joint effect is usually symmetrical. That means if one knee or hand if affected. RA also can affect body systems, such as the cardiovascular or respiratory systems, it is called a systemic disease. Systemic means “entire body.”

Treatment for RA
In Conventional Methods, according to The Arthritis Foundation, they provide several explanations of several types and purpose of drugs available for use.

Drugs That Ease Symptoms
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are available over-the-counter and by prescription. They are used to help ease arthritis pain and inflammation. NSAIDs include such drugs as ibuprofen, ketoprofen and naproxen sodium, among others. For people who have had or are at risk of stomach ulcers, the doctor may prescribe celecoxib, a type of NSAID called a COX-2 inhibitor, which is designed to be safer for the stomach. These medicines can be taken by mouth or applied to the skin (as a patch or cream) directly to a swollen joint.

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Drugs That Slow Disease Activity
Corticosteroids. Corticosteroid medications, including prednisone, prednisolone and methyprednisolone, are potent and quick-acting anti-inflammatory medications. They may be used in RA to get potentially damaging inflammation under control, while waiting for NSAIDs and DMARDs (below) to take effect. Because of the risk of side effects with these drugs, doctors prefer to use them for as short a time as possible and in doses as low as possible.
DMARDs. An acronym for disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, DMARDs are drugs that work to modify the course of the disease. Traditional DMARDs include methotrexate, hydroxycholorquine, sulfasalazine, leflunomide, cyclophosphamide and azathioprine. These medicines can be taken by mouth, be self-injected or given as an infusion in a doctor’s office.

Side Effects of Corticosteroids
People taking corticosteroids were more likely to experience neuropsychiatric symptoms including depression, suicidal thoughts (and actions), delirium, disorientation, confusion, panic and manic episodes. Some of the most common include fluid retention (edema), insomnia, irritability, mood swings, disorientation, high blood pressure, loss of potassium, headache and swollen face.

Long-term complications may include muscle weakness, osteoporosis, cataracts, glaucoma and ulcers.

People taking corticosteroids were more likely to experience neuropsychiatric symptoms including depression, suicidal thoughts (and actions), delirium, disorientation, confusion, panic and manic episodes.

With all the hype of conventional drug use overdose, people are turning more and more to unconventional treatments and methods utilizing naturopathic means and ancient ways. For this purpose, we will be take a look at the use of “Stinging Nettle” for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Stinging Nettle to combat RA
Ancient civilizations have used stinging nettle to treat various ailments. For example, Ancient Egyptians used stinging nettle infusions to treat arthritis. Some people still use stinging nettle as a medicinal aid today.

Stinging nettle, origin Urtica dioica, is a common stalk-like plant that grows in the United States, Canada, and Europe and primarily grows in damp, fertile soil.

What we know: The antimicrobial, antioxidant, analgesic and anti-ulcer properties of stinging nettle have been studied in Germany and Turkey. Stinging nettle is high in potassium, calcium and magnesium and may be helpful for gout.

Stinging nettle is a popular herbal remedy with many uses, ranging from reducing arthritis pain to treating seasonal allergies. What are the benefits of stinging nettle, and what does the research say?

Stinging nettle has a range of uses, and many people find it to be an effective remedy. The herb is generally safe to use, but it can cause side effects in some people. It is always recommended to work with your doctor on any health concerns or use of new herbs and supplements.

According to PMC, The U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, the nettle has sharp hairs on its leaves. These hairs contain chemicals, such as formic acid and histamine, that can irritate the skin and cause stinging, itching, and redness.

Studies: A German study shows that hox alpha, a new extract of stinging nettle leaf, contains an anti-inflammatory substance that suppressed several cytokines in inflammatory joint diseases. In a Turkish study, stinging nettle extract showed antimicrobial effects against nine microorganisms, as well as anti-ulcer and analgesic activity. Stinging nettle root extract combined with sabal fruit extract was shown to be superior to placebo for treating prostate hyperplasia (a precancerous condition) and was well tolerated.

Of Importance to consider
Nettle may interfere with blood thinners, diabetes and heart medications, and lower blood pressure. It is highly recommended to consult your physician with any changes or additions to your health.

Other benefits of Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle has so many benefits for many health issues like RA, Arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) pain, easing of gout, Allergies & Asthma, and yes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The benefits of stinging nettle is amazing. Try this recipe for 30 days and see how you feel.

Dosage: Tea, capsule, tablet, tincture, extract or whole leaf; capsules, up to 1,300 mg daily; tea, 1 cup, three times a day; tincture, 1 ml to 4 ml three times a day; nettle leaf applied directly to the skin.

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